For the participants of the 2006 TFP Call to Chivalry winter camp, the year ended well. Though shorter than TFP summer camps, it was a good opportunity to meet together and refresh the ideals that unite those struggling to be Catholic young men. This year’s camp was especially privileged with a visit by His Imperial Highness Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza.
The event was held from Dec. 28 to January 1 at the TFP-staffed St. Louis de Montfort Academy. Its theme was the struggle against Communism.
Every day began with a prayer to Saint Michael asking his assistance for the day’s struggles. After showering, camp councilors inspected the boys’ rooms to ensure that everything was in proper order. Afterwards the participants formed to sing the Credo and processed into the refectory for breakfast. After breakfast, there was a rosary together followed by the morning lecture.
The first lecture of the camp illustrated the atrocities of Communism. In it, Saint Louis de Montfort Academy instructor John Drake focused on what happens when a bad philosophy is applied to society. That same afternoon, TFP Vice-president John Horvat denounced Communism as a system. After dinner the participants played indoor games and talked with David Nash, a visiting TFP member from South Africa.
In another lecture, Academy instructor Byron Whitcraft explained how the “errors of Russia,” that Our Lady warned about at Fatima include more than just hard line communism and how these errors have spread throughout the world.
TFP member Benjamin Hiegert told the story of Hungarian Jozsef Cardinal Mindzenty, and the persecution he suffered for being a faithful Catholic bishop. TFP member Michael Whitcraft gave a meeting on two Catholic American heroes who fought against Communism: Col. John W. Ripley, who single-handedly stopped a Communist invasion of South Vietnam in 1972 and Captain Guy Gruters who faithfully served more than five years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.
In between lectures, participants played games with good sportsmanship and a chivalrous demeanor. Some favorites were dodge ball, shield ball and paintball with slingshots. Every evening would end with a calm singing of Silent Night before a Nativity scene, after which the participants would silently go to bed and rest up for the next day’s activities.
On New Year’s Eve, the participants went to the TFP headquarters in Spring Grove, Penn., where they had an evening chat with Prince Bertrand, who answered the boys’ questions and threw in extra words of guidance when he could. The program ended with the customary medieval games and treasure hunt. During the games each participant was asked to play hard, but also practice self-control, honesty and respect for the opposing team.
Once the games ended the participants joined American TFP members in praying to Our Lady for protection and guidance throughout 2007. Each participant received a photo of the Crusader king, Saint Louis IX, that was autographed by Prince Bertrand. Happy and ready to face all the struggles of the new year, camp participants then turned in for their final night before returning to their respective homes.